I-Team: Plumber says PVC pipes are long-term health hazards – CBS Boston

2021-11-24 05:56:56 By : Mr. James Zhang

BOSTON (CBS)-Union plumbers say it's not just the dust from cutting PVC pipe that makes the installation so dangerous. Joe King is the plumbing instructor of the union. He told I-Team, “This is the entire connection process. It is glue and cleaning agent. You can smell its strength and effectiveness. None of these chemicals indicate that it is safe for you.”

In fact, the label on the solvent tank clearly warns of the risk of exposure, telling users "do not breathe vapor", "known to be irritating to the lungs" and "suspected of causing cancer."

Barry Keady has been a plumber for many years and is now worried that his recent medical examination has revealed abnormalities in his liver. "This is a long-term problem," Keady said. "These chemicals will enter your liver directly. PVC cleaner is like airplane glue. My liver function is turned off. You are cutting it, using glue and cleaner. This is a long-term health hazard for plumbers. ."

Although the plumber’s union raised health concerns about the product, the National Review Board for Plumbers and Gas Fitters lifted restrictions on the use of plastic pipes. Last month, it changed state regulations to allow developers to use PVC in high-rise buildings and non-residential floors.

Joe King told WBZ, "You assume that someone is looking for us. Now we will make code changes and use PVC in every building. No one will say "I worry about the person who puts the PVC pipe in". They worry about theirs. The bottom line is money."

It's not just the plumbers' union that warned against PVC. The EPA claims that vinyl chloride, a toxic chemical used in the manufacture of PVC, is a known human carcinogen, and the Environmental Health Center has stated that PVC products cannot be safely manufactured, used or disposed of.

University of Massachusetts Lowell professor Michael Allen Baker said the health effects are worth worrying about.

At the Institute of Toxic Substance Use Reduction at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, researchers are committed to developing safer alternatives to toxic chemicals and told I-Team that the pipeline industry already has safer alternatives. Cast iron pipes and copper pipes have been used for hundreds of years.

Professor Ellenbecker said: "We can't wait 30 years to see if this is a real problem, so in my opinion, the lifetime risk of using iron pipes is much lower than that of PVC."

However, the Plastic Piping and Fittings Association stated that PVC products have been used for more than 50 years and are “safe, non-corrosive and economical”.

In the end, the plumbers union said it all boiled down to money.

For Qiao Jin, this is not a good trade-off. "They say it's cheaper to install," Kim said. "In the long run, which of my cancer or this tube is cheaper?"

I-Team contacted the state review board of plumbers and gas installers, but they did not respond to our request for comment.

Firefighters are also worried about the increasing use of PVC, claiming that the fumes from molten pipes are toxic and hazardous to health.